Carrie Bradshaw may have been a shoe girl, but the modern New York City woman knows the power of a good bag. Versatile enough to transition from day to night or from working hours to the weekend, transformative enough to elevate and enhance any outfit, functional for holding all your essential items and then some — it isn’t hard to argue why a chic handbag is the hero of your accessories collection. Which is exactly why if you’re searching for which new It-bag you should buy, look no further than the fashion editors and influencers that make up NYC’s most style-savvy elite. The emerging handbag brands on these New York women's radar should be on yours too.
A handful of bag brands have risen to the top as the latest and greatest labels every sartorially minded woman in the city seems to be carrying. You’ve probably seen them pop up in posts on your Instagram feed, prompting you to tap for credits because you simply have to know who makes that bag. From Danse Lente’s architectural creations to By Far’s minimalist mini top-handles, Yuzefi’s chain-strap styles, Staud’s clear PVC totes, and more, these are the bags that have reached cult status. Scroll on to see who’s wearing which brands, and shop the most popular must-have styles for each.
If you’re searching for a contemporary bag that is architectural and modern but still wearable for the day-to-day, Danse Lente is your new go-to. Danse Lente means “slow dance” in French, but it’s quickly become the It bag among New York City’s fast-paced, fashionable crowd. Influencers and editors alike, including Harper’s Bazaar’s Senior Digital Fashion Editor Chrissy Rutherford (above), can be seen toting this line of accessories everywhere from the Fashion Week scene to their Instagram feeds.
Though By Far is perhaps better known for its shoes, don’t sleep on the brand's amazing selection of bags. The silhouettes stay firmly in the small and streamlined category, while crocodile and lizard embossing gives the leathers a luxurious quality. The overall aesthetic is reminiscent of The Row or Phoebe Philo-era Céline in its simplicity and relaxed sophistication, ideal for minimalists and members of the "less is more" school of thought, like style influencer Christie Tyler, aka @nycbambi.
Staud bags won big with the PVC trend. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or some other place without Instagram), you’ve surely noticed the brand’s signature see-through Shirley Bag, as showcased here on NYC-based fashion blogger Micaéla Verrelien. But other core styles are topping the must-have lists of Staud-obsessed shoppers: the net-encased Moreau bag is perfect for summer, and the new cow-print calf hair version of the Bissett bucket bag is one to get your hands on for winter.
Cult Gaia first burst onto the It-bag scene with its oft-imitated, never-replicated bamboo Ark bag. The iconic carry-all has since been recreated in various other materials, including brass and all colors of acrylic, as modeled above by Charlotte Groeneveld of The Fashion Guitar. Plus, the brand has expanded its bag range to feature other designs beyond the Ark, such as the braided tassel Angelou bag and the sculptural Lilleth which collapses down completely flat for easy packing and traveling.
A consciousness for style and sustainability is combined in this bag collection. Von Holzhausen crafts all its sleek totes and utilitarian shoulder bags from their own unique material called Technik-leather, which is 100 percent animal-free and engineered with consideration for its impact on the environment and conservation of resources. Style influencer M, the elusive minimalist maven behind the @figtny Instagram account, is among the brand’s chic NYC fans.
Boyy’s fusion of cool sportiness and urban edge make it a surefire favorite of New York City’s prominent influencers. Easily recognizable by the trademark chunky buckles and oversized grommets, Boyy bags are frequently seen cinched around the waists or swinging from the arms of such trendsetters as style blogger Rebecca Laurey.
Parisa Wang launched her namesake bag line with the goal of creating pieces that were classic yet modern, and at an approachable price point. The resulting collection showcases a functional sensibility and understated elegance, but offers a range of styles, shapes, and hues to suit every style, whether you’re color-obsessed or a neutral lover like The Zoe Report’s managing editor Lauren Caruso, pictured here.
This London-based label has risen the ranks to cult status in the mere two years since it was founded by Naza Yousefi. The boxy leather bags have a modern appeal, skewed slightly edgy with the addition of chunky hardware and color-blocking. A quick scroll through your favorite influencer or editor Instagram feed, such as Refinery29's Michelle Li (shown above), is sure to produce at least one photo featuring this highly sought-after bag.
Hayward has established a foothold, particularly when in comes to slouchy totes. While not the only style the brand offers, its signature mini shopper design comes appointed in a range of fabrications, from chain-adorned brocade to animal print velour and floral embroidered leather. And as every savvy New Yorker knows, versatility is key — which is what make Hayward bags even better, as they seamlessly transition from day (à la fashion blogger Gala Gonzalez, pictured above) to night.